COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Protecting his family during two decades of constant threats from a stalker took a significant toll and required many lifestyle changes, an Ohio sheriff told a judge ahead of his stalker’s sentencing Wednesday in federal court.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin stayed on guard day and night, paid close attention to his movements to and from work and worried about how he would defend against an attack on guests in his home or while he attended church, Martin told U.S. District Judge Michael Watson.
“This constant state of attentiveness and efforts to maintain as possible a normal lifestyle has taken a significant toll on me and those closest to me,” Martin said in a statement to the judge. “We’ve been denied a normal lifestyle, even for someone involved in investigating and apprehending dangerous criminals.”
The first moments of peace in years came when Young was charged and jailed last year, Martin said.
A federal criminal complaint said the harassment began in 1999 when Young, of Columbus, was arrested by a Delaware County officer on a menacing charge. Martin wasn’t identified in the court document but has confirmed he was that officer.
Investigators said the 54-year-old Young sent letters over the years to Martin’s wife, doctor and barber and to numerous other people.
“I’ll force his hand if the powers that be make the mistake of coming after me again,” Young said in a 62-page letter sent to Martin’s wife in 2015, according to an affidavit. “Then I’ll take everyone down who had a hand in what was done to me one by one.”
Prosecutors asked for as many as five years in prison — the maximum — citing the seriousness of the offense and the impact of the harassment on the sheriff and his family.
“The victims were so distressed that they were left with profound feelings of paranoia and felt compelled, among other measures, to install a security system and cameras in their home,” Jessica Kim, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in a court filing.
Defense attorney Andrew Sanderson asked for a sentence of about two years, saying any prison time would be an adequate deterrence. Sanderson also noted Young never physically confronted his victims.
“A defendant who acts with the intent to ‘kill’ should be punished more severely than one who intends only to annoy — even if said annoyance is in the extreme,” Sanderson said in a court filing.
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
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